East Yorkshire News

Bridlington RNLI welcomes new inshore lifeboat

A new lifeboat has been delivered to Bridlington RNLI

The new lifeboat is one of the RNLI’s D-Class inshore lifeboats. A highly manoeuvrable craft, able to perform rescues in shallow waters and close to harbour walls and rocks. This enables the volunteer crew to provide lifesaving assistance in areas where the larger all-weather lifeboat is unable to access.

The new lifeboat is funded using money left in the Will of Mr Ernest George Wellings, a supporter and pledger to the RNLI who passed away in March 2017.

Mr Wellings lived in Grantham but was originally from Worthing and he left a share of his residual estate for the provision of a lifeboat.
In recognition of this generous legacy, the new inshore lifeboat D-852 will be officially named the Ernie Wellings.

A Station Naming Ceremony will take place at some point in the future, when coronavirus restrictions allow a fitting ceremony to be held.

RNLI Station Mechanic, Chris Brompton described how crucial the new lifeboat will be to Bridlington: ‘Our inshore lifeboat is a key part of our operation here at Bridlington, we launched the D-Class lifeboat a total of 16 times in 2020 and we’re very grateful to have a new one to ensure we can continue to provide this lifesaving coverage.

“Our volunteer crew would like to extend their thanks to the family of Mr Wellings for this gift in his Will.”

Bridlington’s former inshore lifeboat, the Windsor Spirit, has served the RNLI for over ten years and is now likely to be used as a part of the RNLI’s reserve fleet, or be used in training exercises at the RNLI College in Poole.

The RNLI can only continue to save lives at sea thanks to donations from the public.

If you’d like to learn more about how leaving money in your will can help the charity, please visit:- https://rnli.org/sup…/give-money/leave-a-gift-in-your-will.

The D class lifeboat has been the workhorse of the RNLI for over 50 years.

NEW ARRIVAL: Bridlington RNLI’s new inshore lifeboat – D-852 Ernie Wellings


With a top speed of 25 knots, the D class lifeboat can endure 3 hours at sea at this speed on search and rescue missions – a crucial factor when lives at risk.


Not only that, she can access areas inaccessible to our all-weather lifeboats, such as close to cliffs, rocks and inside caves.

As an inflatable inshore lifeboat, the D class is designed to operate close to shore in shallower water.

She is ideal for rescues in fair to moderate conditions and particularly in big surf.

Most D class lifeboats are launched from a trolley, with the help of a launch and recovery vehicle such as a tractor. They can also be lowered into the sea using a davit system (a shore-mounted crane).


With no wheelhouse on the D class lifeboat, the crew are exposed to the elements at all times and rely on their protective kit to keep them safe and warm.

Many rescues take place at night and can involve being close to dangerous cliffs and manmade structures, or searching caves and crevices.

In addition to night vision equipment, the D class lifeboat carries a searchlight and parachute illuminating flares to light up the surrounding area, helping to keep crew members safe as well as locate those in need of help.

Medical equipment is stowed in the bow pod and includes oxygen and full resuscitation kit, responder bag and multi-purpose ambulance pouch.

In the event of a capsize, the D class lifeboat can be righted manually by the crew and her 50hp outboard engine restarted.

Efficiency and effectiveness

With over 50 years’ service, our D class lifeboat has helped to save thousands of lives at sea and continues to be the workhorse of the RNLI fleet today.

Since she joined the fleet in 1963, her design has evolved to meet the changing needs of our search and rescue service. The latest generation of D class lifeboats, known as the IB1 type, was introduced in 2003 with improved speed, manoeuvrability and equipment.


Lifeboat category: Inshore

Year introduced to the RNLI fleet: 1963 – her design has continued to evolve ever since

Latest design: IB1 type introduced in 2003

Launch type: Trolley or davit

Crew: 2–3

Survivor capacity: 5

Maximum speed: 25 knots

Range / endurance: 3 hours at maximum speed

Length: 5m 

Beam / width: 2m

Draught / depth: 0.52m

Displacement / weight: 400kg

Fuel capacity: 68 litres

1 x Mariner engine at 50hp

Hypalon-coated polyester

Number in fleet:
Currently 110 at stations and 25 in the relief fleet

All lifeboats have a unique identification number.
The first part indicates the class so D class lifeboats start with D.
The numbers after the dash refer to the build number. So the first D class built in the current IB1 design was given the number D-600.

Communications and navigation

  • fitted and hand-held VHF (very high frequency) radio
  • magnetic compass
  • onboard global positioning system (GPS) plotter.

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